Paleodysmorphology and paleoteratology: Diagnosing and interpreting congenital conditions of the skeleton in anthropological contexts
SourceClinical Anatomy, 29, 7, (2016), pp. 878-891
Article / Letter to editor
Display more detailsDisplay less details
SubjectRadboudumc 0: Other Research DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
Most congenital conditions have low prevalence, but collectively they occur in a few percent of all live births. Congenital conditions are rarely encountered in anthropological studies, not least because many of them have no obvious effect on the skeleton. Here, we discuss two groups of congenital conditions that specifically affect the skeleton, either qualitatively or quantitatively. Skeletal dysplasias (osteochondrodysplasias) interfere with the histological formation, growth and maturation of skeletal tissues leading to diminished postural length, but the building plan of the body is unaffected. Well- known skeletal dysplasias represented in the archeological record include osteogenesis imperfecta and achondroplasia. Dysostoses, in contrast, interfere with the building plan of the body, leading to e.g. missing or extraskeletal elements, but the histology of the skeletal tissues is unaffected. Dysostoses can concern the extremities (e.g., oligodactyly and polydactyly), the vertebral column (e.g., homeotic and meristic anomalies), or the craniofacial region. Conditions pertaining to the cranial sutures, i.e., craniosynostoses, can be either skeletal dysplasias or dysostoses. Congenital conditions that are not harmful to the individual are known as anatomical variations, several of which have a high and population-specific prevalence that could potentially make them useful for determining ethnic origins. In individual cases, specific congenital conditions could be determinative in establishing identity, provided that ante-mortem registration of those conditions was ensured. Clin. Anat. 29:878-891, 2016. (c) 2016 The Authors Clinical Anatomy published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Association of Clinical Anatomists.
Upload full text